Abstract

abstract:

This article provides a novel interpretation of Grotius’s conception of natural law. Prior interpretations have overlooked Grotius’s doctrine of supererogation and have hence misrepresented, in varying ways, the content of his law of nature and its relation to justice and individual rights. Grotius, I contend, created logical space for supererogation by making natural obligation rather than natural morality determinative of natural law. Natural law regulates only those actions that are obligatory or illicit by their nature (i.e. without human or divine command). Acting in accordance with virtues other than justice is intrinsically morally good but not usually morally required. However, circumstances may fall out such that otherwise supererogatory actions cannot be omitted without committing a moral wrong: natural law is then rendering their performance mandatory.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1538-4586
Print ISSN
0022-5053
Pages
pp. 443-469
Launched on MUSE
2019-07-09
Open Access
No
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